We recently wrote an article explaining how to speed up your computer using a number of different methods, one of which was by defragging your hard drive.
Defragging is necessary in many cases due to the apparently erratic way hard drives sometimes store information. When you save a Word document, for example, your hard drive will very often scatter the data over different areas of the disk.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, what it's doing is filling up space first, and so it's efficient in many cases. However, when files get spread all over the place, especially large ones, it can cause your computer to slow down. If it needs to go all over the drive to knit one piece of data together, then it takes time. Standard hard drives are mechanical in nature, so their read and write heads after travel to get the information necessary.
But SSD aren't like this.
An SSD is very much like normal computer memory. Memory was always one of the most expensive parts of a computer. The cost-per-megabyte made it prohibitively expensive to use them for long-term storage, and there's also the problem of volatility. If you turn off the computer, everything in your RAM (the computer's memory) is deleted, it needs power to keep it going. Hard drives don't suffer from this problem.
But, technology moves on, and so SSD became more common.
It's now much more likely that a computer you just bought will have at least some of its storage as SSD, and it's for a good reason.
SSD is much faster than mechanical drives. When booting up a computer, one of the most frustrating aspects is the startup speed. It can take a long time before that login screen appears, and then even longer before you can do anything.
By storing the operating system and more important files on SSD, that problem is alleviated. The system boots up quickly, and you can get to work.
As technology improves and prices come down, SSD will make its way into more and more computers.
So does this mean we'll never have to defrag again?
Although some software vendors say that it's possible to defrag an SSD and that it will speed it up, there's not very much evidence to back up the claim.
It's possible that as more computers come with SSD installed, the companies selling defrag utilities are trying to ensure they stay in business, however, they should really move on to other things.